Last year, our Christmas tree was one I’d found on the pavement, a potted tree which someone had put out with their bins the preceding January. It summered in my parents’ garden, spent Christmas with us, and has now been rehabilitated, planted in the Lake District amongst the old pines, there when my parents bought the cottage, and the newer oaks and ashes* which my dad planted twenty-five years ago.
This year, we bought a tree from the covered band-stand-type-thing outside Kentish Town station. The cheapest, and smallest! they had, it is considerably larger than last year’s resident, and has allowed me to dress it with all our fairy lights and most of my hoard of Christmas decorations.
The lights are on a timer, so they welcome me home from work each day, and if I leave the bedroom door open, the light spills into the corridor and wakes me up. Much nicer than the usual rude awakening by telephone alarm clock! It is magical, too, eating breakfast by the light of the Christmas tree – although most days I am racing around trying to find my keys and some clean socks, and the ignored tree sits there quietly shining for an hour in the morning before I stomp off to work.
Apart from the tree, though, it hasn’t felt much like Christmas. As most people I speak to agree, it might be the the weather (we are British, after all): warm for the time of year, and raining, rather than frosty and clear. It is also that life in all its wondrous guises keeps getting in the way. I started work in Intensive Care at the beginning of December, at one of the most famous units in Europe (not through anything clever I’d done, just by random job allocation), and I’m clambering up the steepest learning curve I can remember. To my astonishment, I love it. Less surprisingly, it is fairly all-consuming, leaving me little room to think about Christmas, New Year – or my poor neglected blog!
The lack of Christmas spirit is not for want of trying, I might add. I have been piping old Festivals of Carols via the stereo from YouTube, mulling wine, all presents (bought either over the summer or from the internet) are wrapped and somewhere near the tree, and we have managed to write and deliver most of our Christmas cards.
Tonight we are having a big Christmas dinner with friends – in black tie because, as Elle said, the only opportunities we seem to have for dressing up these days are weddings, and isn’t that a bit glum? I’ll be wearing a green dress, with silver shoes and a silver glitter clutch. Because when you’re not feeling Christmassy, it’s time to dress up like a Christmas tree…
Happy Christmas, everyone! I hope you have a lovely holiday, however you like to spend it. Thanks for being with me in my sporadic blog forays, and for continuing to inspire me with yours. Seasonal joy to you, until we meet again in 2013!